My Dad loved being a Granddad.
When TJ and I were living in Texas and learned we were going to be parents, we didn’t even think twice about our decision to move back home to Illinois so that our baby could be raised close to it’s grandparents. TJ and I both grew up around our grandparents, we knew how special that bond is you develop with them, and we wanted that same thing for our babies.
I can remember it wasn’t long after we moved back to central Illinois that we began really struggling. We started questioning and doubting why exactly we moved back home. We had it made in Texas! We had a cute house, great jobs, amazing friends, a loving church…. and we left it all behind for the sake of family.
Upon moving back we were living upstairs at Mom and Dad’s house, and for us two first born, very independent people, that wasn’t ideal. They always say there’s no place like home, but I believe there is also a saying…you can’t go home again. Such mixed messages! But, that’s where the love of parents kick in.
Do you think TJ’s family loved having our whole life packed up in boxes stored away in their garage for a year? Doubtful. You think my parents loved having us and our dog living in their upstairs? Well… they probably did, actually, just as I’m sure TJ’s parents would have loved us living in their home. They were all just thankful we were home.
TJ was hating his new job. I had no job. And so we began to ask ourselves, “What have we done?! What were we thinking?!”
Our house in Texas still hadn’t sold and TJ was ready to go back. He could probably get his old job back and we could go back to our comfortable life in the Lone Star State… and raise our baby hundreds of miles away from our families.
But I said no.
I knew there was a reason why we moved back to Illinois, a reason God opened that door. I wasn’t quite sure what it was at the time, but I knew there was a reason. God lead us back here and we were going to stick it out and see what He had in store for us.
I wish I could then say that miraculously after that revelation, everything got better! The dark clouds vanished, the sun came out, and all was well in our world!
Things weren’t getting better. TJ ended up quitting his job that we moved back home for him to do, I had begun a teaching job, making about half of what I had been making in Texas, we’re still living at Mom and Dad’s, and all with a brand new beautiful baby boy…and things just stunk. I was finally on board the let’s-move-back-to-Texas bandwagon.
So, I went to my Dad’s office to visit one day while on maternity leave. I sat down in front of him and told him we’ve decided to move back to Texas. Things aren’t working out here, we aren’t happy, we made the wrong decision coming back home. I could tell he was hurt and disappointed and definitely not a fan of the idea.
I left his office, went back to the house, and before I had a chance to talk to my Mom, my Dad must have already called her and told her everything, because when she got home from school, she had sadness and disbelief written all over her face. I hated hurting them. I hated ripping their newborn grandson out of their arms and robbing them of the opportunity to love on him and watch him grow up. I can remember my Mom telling me that my Dad told her he hated that he wasn’t going to get to watch Brock grow up and play ball. Talk about a stab to the heart. What were we doing?!?!?! How did we get here?!?!
God, what am I missing?????
And then the next thing you know, my Dad is making arrangements to buy the farmhouse where he spent his entire childhood, from my Granny, with the intentions of TJ, me, and Brock living there. He bought us a farmhouse! He overpaid (like way overpaid!) for a rundown, flea infested, piece of crap, falling apart farmhouse to turn it into the house of our dreams, all because he loved me. He loved that farmhouse. And sure it was a great house five decades and several different renters ago, but it had seen better days, and the money that was involved and him paying way more than that farmhouse was even worth, shows you his generosity, how big his heart was, and the lengths he would go to for his family, to make me happy, to keep us in Illinois, and so that he would not miss out on the opportunity to be a Granddad.
The love of a father.
And yet… it now feels like it was all for nothing.
Instead of me robbing him of the opportunity to be a Granddad… Alzheimer’s did.
I’m so incredibly thankful that my Dad did get a few good years in with Brock and Jillian. He loved my babies. He loved going to Brock’s ballgames, their music programs, taking them trick or treating, and let’s just say Jillian was wrapped around his finger probably tighter than I was. But again, they didn’t get enough time with him, they too were robbed.
So, what was the reason God brought us back home to Illinois?
To watch us struggle? To rip my Dad away from me?
It was to be a family.
It was so I could love on my Dad for the last decade of his life.
To help and support my Mom.
To let him be a Granddad.
“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6
With tear stained cheeks, I thank you God for blessing me with a father who loved me so much that he’d invest his retirement savings into fixing up a home for me and my family, so that we could all be together. And yet while my Dad’s time on this Earth was but a blink of an eye, and I may not have ended up getting my dream home, what you did give me was a Dad who showed me that it’s not the fancy house here on Earth that I long for, but the mansion in heaven, where one day, we will all be together again.
Lord come quickly.